Local News

Christmas Past: Christmas Day 1914

In 1914 Christmas Day was on a Friday. This was the first Christmas since the start of World War 1. A war that was to be over by Christmas. Here’s what was reported about Christmas Day in Orkney.

Friday last was a general holiday in Kirkwall. Not since it became customary to observe Christmas Day in Kirkwall has the day passed so quietly.

There was no ball playing in the streets, and the public houses being closed, there was no noise or disorder.

In St Olaf’s Episcopal Church the usual special services were held, and in Paterson U.F. Church there was a service for Territorials. In the evening the men of the Trawler Reserve were entertained by their Commanding Officer in the Shore Street Hall, and the Good Templars had a largely attended social meeting in the Temperance Hall, at which a popular and varied programme was submitted. The afternoon and evening entertainments at the Electric Theatre were well patronised, a fine series of pictures being shown at every house.

Christmas Day in Stromness was observed as a public holiday, all places of business being closed. The public bars were not open at any time of the day, as they used to be. The annual games of football in the street took place as usual, but we noticed that on this occasion it was confined mostly to young boys, and lasted but a short time, the North-enders being the victors on both occasions. The streets were very quiet all day but especially during the evening when they were mostly deserted.

A very enjoyable concert was given on Christmas Night by a party from HMS Hannibal.

The Orkney Herald and Advertiser, 30/12/1914